Anyway, I jumped on the chance to write this column today because I actually used to type out an emote or two on my old server, Sentinels. Oh, the good old days of being a tyrannical cult leader; how I miss them! These days, though, I don't do much RP other than a little bit to weird out my fellow guildies (you must make an offering to the god of raiding before you pull a boss!). Despite this, I still feel very inclined to RP, and as I travel around the Cataclysm beta I often found myself thinking, "Wow! This would be a great place to RP!" So I've written this article with my top 10 picks for new RP hot spots in Cataclysm.
Do you ever notice that night elves don't RP in Darnassus? Sure, maybe a handful of them do, but not many of them. I blame it on the communal housing in their capital city and the fact that said capital city is about as far away from everything else as it could be. Fortunately, we now have Hyjal, which is just about as far away as Darnassus, but it's a hell of a lot cooler.
Obviously a quest zone, especially a high-level one, won't be a great hang-out spot, but I could definitely foresee its being used as a destination for many pilgrimages. Traveling to see the great tree of Nordrassil would be a big deal to any night elf or historian. Blood elves (especially magisters) may also find the spot significant, seeing as the Well of Eternity (from which the Sunwell originated -- Edit: Or not. Read this comment here for details) sits just under the tree. The druid burrows are also nearby, as well as a night elf prison similar to the one where Illidan Stormrage was once locked up. There are even night elf wardens, dressed in the same garb we previously saw on Maiev. The very beautiful Ysera is also there.
To top it off, Nordrassil is huge. You could live up there and do Avatar RP if you wanted to. Dawn cringes. There are a ton of branches you can fly up to and have a picnic on if you like, and if you wanted to go further from there, have at it.
The addition of flying mounts in the old world has given us access to so many new things, and these falls are just the start. These waterfalls are located along the mountainous borders of Azshara, close to Winterspring, and they're quite a marvel to look at. I encourage you to try standing in the mist at the base of them; it's beautiful.
Now, I may be dead wrong on this, but don't people like to RP next to waterfalls? Back in the days of AOL chat room RP, I know that one of the most popular RP hang-outs was the waterfalls of Rhydin. You could find all sorts of people just lounging about, taking in the view and barging into each others' storylines. I don't quite see that happening in WoW, but at the very least, I could see this being the spot for a romantic getaway or vacation with a few friends.
Orgrimmar got a major facelift this expansion, and the Valley of Wisdom is definitely the most different compared to what it once was. This is now basically the tauren district, which I think is wonderful for the handful of tauren RPers who (at least in my opinion) have the most trouble fitting into the Horde RP scene. The changes to the city now make Orgrimmar the epitome of diversity, and with so many races having a reason to be here, I hope tauren will be able to RP more in tune with their race's lore, rather than finding a way to fit themselves into that patch of grass in Silvermoon City.
The other good thing is that the Valley of Wisdom is tucked off away from the main traffic areas of Orgrimmar. You'll be able to avoid the non-RPers pretty easily over here, while still enjoying an interesting area in the capital city.
Do you remember flying up to Ironforge from Menethil Harbor and seeing all those little hovels? Well, now you can finally get to them, and they're a lot more expansive than I realized. There are a few structures up here, plus some paths and farms, and there is a locked gate that leads to what I assume is Ironforge. Each home is stocked with the typical dwarven fair: weapons, booze and more booze.
I'm not sure how much farmer RP exists on the typical RP server. I have a fondness for it, but it usually turns into recluse RP so I guess it will just depend on what you're into. Even with a handful of NPCs around, I think these hovels are definitely nice locations for player housing; they're close enough to a city to be convenient, but far enough for them to be a little more private than that one house. You know what I mean -- that one house in a city that has no NPCs in it, and every RPer from Gilneas to Tanaris claims it as his own. Yeah, you know what I'm talking about.
Orgrimmar again, but this time it's the Valley of Spirits, which is now awesome. The whole valley got overhauled so that it now not only has some really amazing troll architecture but also a goblin slum (not pictured) nearby. Just like the Valley of Wisdom, the troll district and goblin slums are far enough away from the main stomping areas of Orgrimmar to keep the RP mood intact. The whole thing has an amazing ambiance and I think troll (and goblin) RPers might really dig it here.
Overall, I have high hopes for Orgrimmar as an RP spot in Cataclysm, but it's really hard to tell what people are going to be into. I oftentimes find that people want to RP their own stories and just use WoW as a medium, rather than wanting to RP as characters that fit into the existing world and lore. There isn't anything wrong with that, granted, but I think that kind of trending is what has left Orgrimmar so dry up until now. It's also possible that it's just harder or less interesting for the average RPer to play a character who is so vastly different from himself, and the tribal and communal life that many Horde races exhibit is pretty far from the life of the average WoW player. Still, maybe these new areas will inspire players to try playing some of the lesser RPed races in Azeroth. Let's hope!